2008 Indoor World Trial Championship Round 3

Palacio Deportes, Granada, Spain - 9/2/2008 - Attendance: 3,000

First Podium of the Year

photoA week after the Barcelona round, the third round Granada took place on Saturday February the ninth. After a close battle with Raga, Fujinami finished third on the Qualification Lap to secure the ticket for the Final Lap, first time in 2008 season.

Qualification Lap

Raga in turn was the first nominated rider to start the Qualification Lap in Granada after the two wild card riders. The order was then Bou, Lampkin, Fujinami, and Cabestany was the last starter.

Difficulty was lower than round two, and there were many cleanable sections. Still, there were big chances that any small mistake would end up with a full mark error, a typical characteristic of the indoor trial.

The first starter, Fajardo, completed the observed sections with 16 points including three clean. He spent 9 minutes and 55 seconds, 5 seconds left. Dabill's try didn't go so well where he fived all the sections except the seventh. He took his time to challenge the obstacles, but he finished quicker with 8 minutes and 48 seconds.

The first in the nominated rider, Raga started with three consecutive cleans followed by one point at the section four. He went on to ride at the section five but dropped five points. Raga completed the observed sections with 9 minutes and 40 seconds, 20 seconds remaining. Bou followed next, and he marked six cleans, but he too failed at the section five. It was the time that Fujinami became sure that the fifth section was too hard to conquer.

Lampkin, who was still in an adjusting stage with the Beta bike that he switched this year to, dropped a full mark at the section five and three more sections to finish with 22 points. His score was better than Dabill but he couldn't surpass Fajardo.

Just before the start, Fujinami kept his mind to be very careful, as there were many cleanable sections. His lap started with one point penalty, but re-concentrated to mark three consecutive cleans. Watching the rivals mistakes at the section five, Fujinami decided to accept five early to save time. His decision paid off greatly later. He made another mistake at the section six. But he was glad to keep it in one point penalty, because he thought the section was another tough challenge before the start. Fujinami finished with seven points using 8 minutes and 54 seconds.

Cabestany rode at last, and he marked all cleans except the section five, same result as Bou, spending 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

After the seven observed sections, Fujinami was fourth to line up for the Double-Lane with Raga. The Spaniard was a point better than Fujinami, but he spent more time than the Japanese. Raga needed to win the speed race, because if he failed, two would finish in a tie in the point, thus Fujinami would proceed to the Final Lap by the competing time. For Fujinami, it was the second occasion to fight for the last spot for the Final Lap. Fujinami lost the first battle, and Bou took the spot at the opening round.

Fujinami knew Raga liked the way the Double-Lane was set, as it had some Spanish type of obstacles in it. But Fujinami loves the speed race, and was confident too. He finished first to equal the points with Raga, thus captured the third spot for the Final Lap. His time was 46 seconds quicker than the Spaniard.

Final Lap

At the Final Lap, three riders will ride the section one after another, with the starting order decided by the qualification order. Thus Fujinami was first then Cabestany and Bou followed.

Both Fujinami and Cabestany fived at the opening section, but Bou marked clean by showing a beautiful hop over without any run up. He dropped a point for over-time though.

At the section two, Fujinami and Cabestany fived at the stair-case at the end. Bou made a huge and nasty crash when he was still at the middle of the section. He was a bit short when jumping onto the rock, and he hit his face against the rock and the bike's rear fender hit him afterwards, cutting his glabella. The first aid medical treatment took place and the competition was stopped.

Bou didn't come back out in a while, so the competition re-started with two riders only. The two marked clean at the section three, and Bou, still not riding, was penalized five points. When the first two riders dropped five points, Bou returned in action. Still bleeding on his face, he showed his strength to mark clean. He momentally dropped his position to third by missing the section three by one point, but he quickly went back up to the top spot with four points advantage.

There was the Double-Lane for the fifth section, the round-robin tournament among three riders. Fujinami won against Cabestany but lost against Bou. The championship leader won both rounds. At the time, Bou was leading with 11 points, Fujinami followed with 16 points, and Cabestany was third with 17 points.

photoAll three fived at the section six, and Fujinami made a decisive error at the next section. He dropped a full mark, while Cabestany dropped one point with one time-over penalty. Bou marked clean dropping anything. Fujinami didn't have a chance to write off the point gap as three riders all marked cleans at the section eight and nine to complete the Final Lap. It was same for Cabestany that he could not stop Bou from taking the victory even being injured and not riding a section.

Although standing at the bottom of the podium, Fujinami felt great finally to proceed to the Final Lap for this year. It was his first step to mixed up with Spanish ex-indoor champions, who have been the regular faces on the podium.

The Indoor Championship will have a short break before the next round in Lisbon, where Fujinami would be the first starter in the nominated riders. There will be some more tough challenge for Fujinami, as Lisbon and the final round Madrid will be competed on the Spanish soil with the sections with strong Spanish taste.

Quote from Fujigas:

I am glad that I finally went onto the Final Lap. It was unfortunate that Bou crashed at the section two. I know he was in a big pain, but it didn't seem to affect him much. He took away the victory, and showed how strong he was. We have three more to go, and I will shift it up for the battle.

2008 Indoor World Trial Championship
Round3 - Palacio Deportes, Granada, Spain
Final Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 17
2 2Albert Cabestany Sherco 24
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 26
Qualificarion Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 5
2 2Albert Cabestany Sherco 6
3 3. Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 7
4 4. Adam Raga Gas Gas 7
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 17
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 22
7 James Dabill Montesa 33
1 Toni Bou 28
2 Albert Cabestany 22
3 Adam Raga 21
4 Takahisa Fujinami 16
5 Jeroni Fajardo 12
6 Dougie Lampkin 8
7 James Dabill 7
8 Jerome Bethune 1